This article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds Blog.
The already wealthy and their minions are unprepared for the Smart Crowd opting out.
Clueless economists are wringing their hands about the labor shortage without looking at the underlying causes, one of which is painfully obvious: the American economy now only works for the top 10%; the American Dream of turning labor into capital is now reserved for the already-wealthy.
As a result, the Smart Crowd is opting out of the conventional workforce’s debt-overwork-dead-end-treadmill. What clueless economists, pundits, and politicos don’t dare acknowledge is that credentials and hard work are not a ticket to middle-class security; they’re a ticket to impossible workloads demanded by global corporations and high-cost lifestyles anchored by student-loan debt, high rents, and out-of-reach real estate.
In other words, credentials and hard work are a dead end. Costs rise faster than your income no matter how hard you work, and corporations are ruthlessly extractive despite the bogus PR of “we value our employees”: just as government only values its tax-donkeys after they’re gone, corporations only value their employees after they burn out and leave the Corporate America treadmill for good.
Credentials and hard work are a dead-end financially and health-wise. The stress of overwork breaks down physical and mental health, slowly and then all at once. Financially, the endless inflation of asset bubbles means younger workers must buy assets at the top of the bubble and hope the bubbles won’t pop–but since bubbles always pop, the game of enticing younger workers into buying overvalued stocks, junk bonds, and houses is a dead end: rather than building real wealth, gambling in bubbles is ultimately destructive to both wealth and health, because once the phantom wealth generated by a bubble dissipates, those who believed it was all forever are devastated.
The hope that there will be a safe haven when bubbles pop is another aspect of this time it’s different, and this belief has led many to drop out of the workforce to speculate their way to wealth. Given this is the greatest bubble of all time (GBOAT), this strategy has been gloriously successful, as the rising tide has raised all boats across virtually every asset class.
But few of the newly minted millionaires have any experience of bubbles popping, and so few are prepared for the end-game. Since bubbles often exhibit symmetry, the skyrocketing ascent will likely be matched by a catastrophically steep decline that leaves this time it’s different believers in disbelief.
Things are different for the top tier of the already-wealthy. When family money pays for college and the down payment on a house, the lucky offspring have no student-loan debt chains hobbling them and none of the hopeless Red Queen’s Race of trying to save up a down payment as housing prices accelerate away from the hapless savers.
Family money offers other cost-free goodies to the fortunate offspring: use of the family vacation home, income from family trust-fund assets, the benefits of family connections (for example, the advantages given to alumni of prestigious schools in terms of admitting their offspring), and valuable class-based memberships, both formal and informal.
Trying to reach the same level as the already-wealthy is a path to burnout and frustration, as the chasm is too wide to leap. Those gambling in the GBOAT casino are winning now, but relying on number 22 coming up, again and again, is becoming increasingly risky. The speed with which the phantom wealth of debt-asset bubbles can collapse is not widely understood, and the collapse will catch most punters off-guard.
In other words, membership in the already-wealthy based on speculative gains may prove more temporary than expected.
There are many ways to opt-out. Here’s one account of one strategy: What I learned from living five years in a van (theguardian.com).
The already-wealthy and their minions are unprepared for the Smart Crowd opting out. In their precious naivete, the technocrat class reckons a few more dollars an hour will lure the Smart Crowd back into wage-debt-penury. The failure of their pathetic little carrot to entice the burned-out donkeys back to the harness of making billionaires wealthier in exchange for, well, nothing of any real value, will be a great shock for those who believe that since the status quo works great for me, it works great for everybody.
The banquet of consequences hasn’t even served the main course but it’s on the way from the kitchen.
I meet smart working people all the time starting to find alternative sources of income and making a living. Some still keep their job but frequently the additional source of income is as much or more than the job pays. A lot of people have to hustle extra anyway, wages have not kept pace with inflation for years. Others are people who retired the moment they became eligible for a pension and use their skills to do jobs on the side. On top of this many are saving money by learning to do things that they use to hire a company to do. This overall trend is growing rapidly. They’re trying to pay off their homes early and don’t buy brand new vehicles.
The politicians and the official “experts” don’t have a clue, so they are obviously looking at BS gov’t data. Most of them believe the BS that is published and think everything is fine. In reality, the
politicians and experts are only showing how obsolete they are, not accomplishing a g*dd*m thing. Actually they only impede progress, but sure as hell take any credit. The politicians don’t care about the go-getters anyway, because they mostly don’t get their votes. The pols would rather pander to those who want to have the gov’t to give them free sh*t. These types will continue to vote for the progressives.
As a senior in high school (many years ago) I had a teacher who was an old hardass and he taught my economics/finance class. The very first thing he said in the very first class of the school year was “There is no such thing as a free lunch, you may not pay for something, but in some way someone else or other people had to pay for it – period. Absolutely nothing is free unless there is someone in this class who can work a miracle and make something from nothing”. He went on to expound what this meant. Best high school teacher I ever had. Millions and millions of Americans have no idea of this principle.
One thing for sure, a lot people are opting out of the system or reducing it as much as possible. When this becomes a critical mass the “elites” will crack down because are no longer grabbing an inordinate share of our pie.
The only answer is socialism that leads to communism where there is a classless society with an economy that everyone participates in equally.
That’s the only hope for the future, the only way to get rid of inequality and make things work for everybody instead of just those on top.
Then we would all be equally poor. How would you keep the corruption at bay. How would we be sure people dont abuse the system.
WRONG! how much are you getting paid to promote this Marxism. We need our Republic back and close the borders and get rid of all the dead weight that you want imposed on Americans!
Anon – Your comment is perhaps the most ignorant one I have ever read on this site. It is an absolutely fundamental plank in the establishment of communism. The very statement you assert has been the basis to justify every oppression and hideous crime against humanity including deprivation of all basic human rights, state-sponsored police/terror apparatuses, and mass murder.
Please tell us you didn’t think this through, not that you actually believe it.
You are crazy or you are getting paid to promote propaganda! You think dumb sheep are on this platform, well it’s not. Go somewhere else!
How’s that working out for Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, North Korea………. Your happy rainbow dream is unrealistic and has no basis in success.
why work when half of your salary goes to illegal migrants and afghanees? I would rather not work than make someone else rich.
Why work? That is a DUMB question! Why keep our borders open so illegals get free stuff should be your question!!!! Idiot!
Because they let you keep half of it and that keeps you and your family in food and shelter instead of hungry and on the street.
All very well observed and I can vouch for these insights.
I have had the experience of being at the top of the pile a few times in my life (a consequence of catastrophic economic collapse) and can say 90% of the economy is just a well prepared illusion that can be swept away overnight.
What got us through those episodes were pretty simple things. Strong life skills and good mental and physical health, access to a steady stream of US dollars, access to high-interest bank accounts, family inheritance and access to the skinny on good jobs.
But definitely not working all hours for an a-hole, being stapled to a desk, paying over the odds for some micro apartment surrounded by the homeless and angry negros, or any of the other ‘normy’ things people do.
I dropped out of their “ game “ a decade ago, I called it my “ Ecclesiastical “ moment.
I’m not a rat, I don’t race with rats…
Peace to you Steadfast. May you live well and be an inspiration to others.
Y’all are going about this in the wrong direction….so let me spell it out for ya…
Unless we as a nation turn back to the Lord God Almighty, we are on a one way ticket to hell… Now for the truth… of why the US is headed on a path of destruction…
What is going on??? the US has broken her covenant with God…the covenant that George Washington made with Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth and all it contains…and since the US has broken her oath of following ALL of God’s ways…the Lord God has no choice except to bring judgment upon the US….read below for the words of President Washington…a most humble man…
now buckle up and get strapped in tight for the party has just begun…you wanted debauchery, you wanted sin upon sin upon sin…well now the Lord has come to repay for the sins of the US and forsaking Him…
George Washington’s Covenant with God
April 30, 1789
New York City
The debate was over. The arguments had been presented. The federalists supported this new document because they believed it was necessary for this young nation to prosper. On the other hand, the anti-federalists feared that the new constitution gave to much power to the federal government. Would states lose their autonomy once this new document was ratified? After four grueling months of debate the new constitution was ratified and the states had to decide who would be their first president.
George Washington was chosen unanimously as the new nation’s first president without a single dissenting vote. Now once again, after wishing to end his life of service to his country and retire back to his farm, Washington again answer’s the call to serve his country. For George Washington was truly a man who did not seek power. In fact, he detested power. He sought personal honor. But he never sought accolades. He believed in service to his country.
It was time for George Washington to go to the new nation’s capital, which was in New York, and accept another responsibility and trust that was bestowed upon him. For George Washington was truly a man whom was trusted by the people of the United States. For the thirteen states would have never accepted the new constitution if Washington had not given it his seal of approval.
The young nation feared a strong central government. They feared the new Constitution would create a government that would trample on their rights. They feared another monarchy. For what good was the revolution if a new monarchy at home would replace the old monarchy abroad?
The thirteen states were apprehensive at first in ratifying this new Constitution. And there was only one man whom could put their minds at ease. That man was George Washington. The only man whom they would entrust with this new power.
Washington gave the very first presidential oath and the very first inaugural address. On that cool, April Day in New York City Washington also followed in the footsteps of the Biblical heroes of old making a covenant with God. David. Solomon. Josiah.
God honors covenants. He would always keep His end of the bargain. George Washington knew that.
The question is would the United States of America keep hers?
Robert Livingston administered the very first presidential oath of office of this new nation. He was New York’s state Chancellor.
Washington opened the Bible at random to Genesis 49. Washington placed his left hand upon the open Bible. Washington raised his right hand. Washington then proceeded to take the following oath:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”
Washington then bent over and in an act of reverence for His God whom saved him so many times before, he kissed the Bible.
Chancellor Livingston proclaimed, “It is done!” Livingston then turned to those who were assembled as eyewitnesses to history and shouted, “Long live George Washington – the first President of the United States!”
George Washington then went inside Federal Hall to the Senate Chamber and delivered the first ever Inaugural Address. Washington opened his address with prayer:
“It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes.”
“No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.”
Then Washington made a covenant with the God of the universe saying:
“Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
In his address Washington made it clear that no nation can expect to be blessed by God (propitious smiles of Heaven) if they turn away from Him. (disregards the eternal rules of order and right) If a nation forgets God she will lose the blessing that God has given her.
Representing the nation, Washington made a promise that the United States of America would follow God. If she ever broke her promise then she would lose God’s blessing and protection. God would keep His promise. He always kept His promises. Only one question remained:
Would the United States of America keep hers?
Today, if we are honest, truly honest with ourselves, we should be willing to admit to the heavens above we have forsaken God as a Nation that was once blessed by the Almighty God. And the Lord God Almighty has no choice but to forsake us as the United States of America by the covenant made to the Lord by General Washington, The President and leader of the United States.
George Washington may be gone…but the covenant still stands in the eyes of God for a covenant can only end when one of the parties dies, for George was our representative and placed the US under the oath of the covenant …and the US seems to be on her death bed….
New American Standard Bible
21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Direct from the word of God…
Acts 17:26 and He made from one man, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined [their] appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation.
Job 12:23 “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
Today the warning shot has been fired, what will you do???
6 If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?
7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets.
43 The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you will go down lower and lower.
Psalm 9:17 The wicked will turn into hell, Even all the nations who forget God.
39 ‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
7 The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the Lord who does all these.
God says he kills and makes alive, He wounds and He heals…
God says He is the One who brings calamity and well being…
So before you dismiss…read and re-read and ask the Lord for mercy in His wrath…
Praise be to God, to Him be the glory forevermore.
Are we something to God?…God needs nothing from us…for these words in Isaiah speaks this truth.
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing ; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? (Isa 40:15-18).
How vastly different is the God of Scripture from the “god” of the average pulpit! The modern day Pharisee (pastor) has turned the Lord God into a genie in the bottle to stroke at their will…yet God is stroking the world with His wrath and indignation.
May the Lord in His wrath, show us mercy.
It is all a scam to enrich the SUPER RICH. Last I looked the top 20 billionaires were all /Demorats that paid almost zero taxes. Only Alice Walton at 10 was a RepublNever-
Before-Seen Records Reveal How Bezos, Musk, Other Top Billionaires Pay Almost Zilch in Income Taxesican.
Some of the super-wealthy set a bad example, for sure.
However, since we all want to be rich, and some of us may make it, a class warfare attitude makes no sense in America as it does Europe.
In Europe, lingering royalty and nobility is more than ceremonial; they actually believe they are entitiled by birth and those who sever them, entitled by proxy.
Most rich folks are probably OK people living their lives in peace like everyone else. They may think they’re better in terms of being smarter or just luckier, but not entitled in their thinking.
These are the ones the political elites really go after when they can, and COVID-1984 is a demonstration of political elite power over money, not money over political elites.
This is a war against the middle class – including the middle class attitude of being just as good as everyone else.
Rich people who agree with egalitarianism are considered class traitors that the politically connected oligarchs can’t stand.